This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dear Abby Gives Thanks

An interesting book I recently ran across is The Best of Dear Abby. Abigail Van Buren is the pen name of Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips, who was the twin sister of advice columnist Ann Landers (Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer). The twins were born in 1918. Dear Abby developed full blown Alzheimer's disease, and her daughter took over the syndicated name completely in 2002. Ann Landers died in 2002 from multiple myeloma.

Both women became competing advice columnists in their late 30s (1956), Ann in Chicago and Abby in San Francisco. The book, The Best of Dear Abby, reprises many interesting letters and responses, laced with Abby's reminiscences. What I found so fascinating was the dated sense of some of the language's expression and customs (flower children, smoking etc.), of such concern only a few decades ago. Tempest Fugit -- these cultural understandings are fading quickly, even though the underlying human problems remain the same.

I can understand why Abby's zippy responses were so popular. I didn't quite agree with her philosophy demonstrated in some of her answers, but found myself nodding and smiling to many of the things she said.

Below I've posted part of an annual Thanksgiving column that Dear Abby used to post every year. This is worth much reflection.

How's your health? Not so good? Well, thank God you've lived this long. A lot of people haven't. You're hurting? Thousands-maybe millions-are hurting more. (Have you ever visited a veterans' hospital? Or a rehabilitation clinic for crippled children?)

If you awakened this morning and were able to hear the birds sing, use your vocal chords to utter human sounds, walk to the breakfast table on two good legs, and read the newspaper with two good eyes-praise the Lord! A lot of people couldn't.

How's your pocketbook? Thin? Well, most of the living world is a lot poorer. No pensions. No welfare. No food stamps. No Social Security. In fact, one-third of the people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.

Are you lonely? The way to have a friend is to be one. If nobody calls you, call them. Go out of your way to do something nice for somebody. It's a sure cure for the blues.

Are you concerned about your country's future? Hooray! Our system has been saved by such concern. Concern for honesty in government, concern for peace, and concern for fair play under the law. Your country may not be a rose garden, but it also is not a patch of weeds.

Freedom rings! Look and listen. You can still worship at the church of your choice, cast a secret ballot, and even criticize your government without fearing a knock on the head or a knock at the door at midnight. And if you want to live under a different system, you are free to go. There are no walls or fences-nothing to keep you here.

As a final thought, I'll repeat my Thanksgiving Prayer:

O, heavenly Father: We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved,
May these remembrances stir us to service
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.

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